Kicking off this year's 2020 Holiday cookie box with Maple Vanilla Walnut Viennese Whirls! These buttery cookies are my favourite of all time! They're tender, buttery, crispy, and the batter is so smooth you can pipe them into swirls. Dipped in a glossy maple glaze and topped with walnuts for an extra crunch.
This recipe is part of the 2020 Holiday Cookie Box! Click here to see the other flavors!
What are viennese Whirls?
Contrary to the name, these are not from Vienna, but actually from Britain - figures, because they always have the most delicious tea cookies! These melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies are recognizable by their swirl shape which is piped right before baking, and is made possible by the small ratio of flour to butter.
Traditionally these cookies can sandwich buttercream, but I prefer this more delicate version.
Ingredients for these buttery delights!
Just 7 simple ingredients to make these delicious Viennese Whirls!
Unsalted Butter: This cookie is basically an ode to butter, so use the good stuff! Make sure your butter is EXTRA soft! or else the cookies will be dense.
Powdered Sugar: This dissolves better than granulated sugar to ensure that the batter is smooth enough to pipe.
Egg White: To give lift to the cookies so they don't deflate in the oven.
Almond Flour: For a nutty undertone taste. Make sure to finely sift or the batter will be grainy.
All-Purpose Flour: Like the almond flour, finely sift to prevent lumps.
*This can be substituted for all almond flour if you want a GF version.
TIP: Cake Flour would be even better so the cookie has a fine crumb!
Maple Syrup: For flavoring the icing.
Walnuts: For the crunchy topping. You can optionally toast them beforehand.
How to make Maple Vanilla Walnut Viennese Whirls
1.Cream the butter and sugar together - this base is so important; If your butter is not softened, there will be chunks of butter in the batter.
TIP: Remove the butter from the fridge 2 hours before to cool. Or place over a warm vent for 5-10 minutes if you're in a pinch (sounds crazy, but IT WORKS!)
2. Whip the eggs white in. THIS STEP IS THE MOST CRUCIAL. Once the egg white goes it, the mixture will be wet and the butter will separate, but keep mixing! It will take about 5-10 minutes of mixing before the egg fully emulsifies into the butter. To prevent the Viennese Whirls from spreading, don't stop mixing until the butter has absorbed all the liquid and the consistency is like creamed butter again.
3. Sift in the dry ingredients. You're almost there! Make sure to sift in the ingredients so there are no lumps.
4. Pipe! The most fun part! I use a Wilton 1M tip, but you can use any large star piping tip! The traditional shape is in big swirls, but try zigzags and other shapes.
5. Chill: My secret tip when baking with anything butter based to prevent spreading.
6. Bake: Convection setting is best, as the increased airflow will prevent uneven baking. Additionally, baking at a low temp of 320°F prevents them from spreading.
7. Make the Glaze: The glaze is super simple with maple syrup, powdered sugar and a bit of milk. Dip the cookies in the glaze before sprinkling with the crushed walnuts.
How to Pipe Viennese Whirls
The key to piping viennese whirls is to NOT over fold the batter. The batter needs to be soft enough to flop off the spatula, but not ribbon off like thickened creams. If the batter is too dense, add a little milk to thin it out.
TIP: I also soak my piping tip in boil water right before, so the batter slightly warms when piped.
To pipe the swirls, hold the piping bag straight up and ½ inch away from the baking tray. While sqeezing the bag with one hand, and the other holding the tip, move your arms in a clockwise motion.
I hope these Viennese Whirls make their way into your holiday cookie boxes this year! Regardless of the holidays, I think these are delicious year round!
Happy Baking! Sharon XO
Maple Vanilla Walnut Viennese Whirls
for the butter cookie base
- 5½ tbsp (80g) unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- ½ tbsp (7ml) vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (30g) powdered Sugar sifted
- ¼ tsp (1g) kosher salt
- 15g egg white
- 3 tbsp (10g) almond flour
- ¾ cup (90g) all-purpose flour
- 1+ tsp milk (to thin out batter if needed)
for the maple glaze
- ⅛ cup (30ml) maple syrup
- ½ cup (50g) powdered sugar
- ¼ cup (25g) walnuts finely chopped
for the butter cookie base
- Preheat the oven to 320°F, preferably, at the convection setting and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Prep a 12 or 18 inch piping bag with a 1M Wilton Tip. Soak the piping tip end in boiling water.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitting with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter on medium-low speed until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar, and add vanilla extract and salt. Cream again until all the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
- Pour in the egg white, and mix on medium speed. At first, the butter will separate. Increase the mixing speed to the 2nd highest level and mix for 5-7 minutes or until the egg white liquid is absorbed. Scrape down the bowl every 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer and smear all the butter against the sides of the bowl with a spatula, mixing it all together after smearing. Keep smearing and mixing, until the mixture resembles softened butter again and there is NO TRACE of egg liquid. DO NOT stop, until it reaches this stage or your cookies will spread.
- Sift in the almond flour, cake flour and fold to combine. Fold just until no streaks of flour remain. If the dough gets too tough, stream in milk 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared piping bag. Tighten the top of the bag by twisting the top, and pipe out 1 inch cookies. To pipe, hold the bag vertically ½ inch from the pan with one hand, and the other hand holding the tip. While squeezing the bag, move your arms in a clockwise motions to swirl the batter. Lightly flick at the end to release batter. Continue until no batter remains.
- Chill the cookies for 5 minutes in the freezer or 10 minutes in the fridge. Bake the cookies in a convection oven (circulates air) for 10-13 minutes or at 14-16 minutes for conventional bake until the edges are slightly golden brown. Remove and cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the Maple Icing
- In a small bowl combine maple syrup and milk. Sift in powder sugar and whisk until smooth and thickened. Dip half of the cooled cookie into the glaze, place on a wire rack and sprinkle the glazed side with crushed walnuts. Let the glaze harden for 5-10 minutes.
- This cookie recipe is best made with cake flour, but all-purpose is more common so it is used.
- For a gluten-free version sub all the all-purpose flour with almond flour.
- For an egg-free version use flax egg (cannot guarantee same results).
- Vegan butter can be substituted in.
- These cookies will stay fresh for one week if stored flat in an air tight container.